Sexuality

Women and men have ambivalent attitudes toward sexuality. Following Hindu beliefs about the impurity of bodily substances, sex is considered impure. Owing to the strong value placed on female virginity at marriage, women grow up regarding sex as dangerous; men, too, consider sex dangerous, but for a different reason— the fear of semen loss. Countering these views is the strong desire for children, particularly sons, which necessarily places importance on an ongoing sexual relationship between wife and husband. Women express distrust of men in matters of extramarital affairs. People regard sex as being for both reproduction and pleasure, and men are expected to be the initiators of sex in a marriage. Women are expected to be modest about sexual matters, and rarely talk with others about sex; many first learn of sex in marriage. Expression of sexuality is reserved for the marital relationship, where men are expected to be the informed experts. Contradicting all of the above is one low-caste group of potters and entertainers found in western Nepal, whose women are dancers and prostitutes. The women from this group speak openly about sex.

Male cross-dressing as a form of entertainment is not uncommon; cross-dressing by a groom's female relatives occurs in an openly secretive place and time, after the groom's party has departed to the bride's home. Female and male homosexuality is not discussed openly, and it is hard to gauge people's acceptance of it. Still, affectionate relations between same-sex friends include holding hands and sleeping together.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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